I wrote an essay and it contained a lot of it's. Upon doing a grammar check on it, all the it's were suggested to be replaced by its.

I am currently not much familiar with the difference between the two. And when to use which one?

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    its = belonging to it. it's is an abbreviated form of it is. ALWAYS. Dec 14, 2019 at 16:48
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    @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Or it has. "It's been fun!"
    – user230
    Dec 14, 2019 at 17:36
  • @snailcar♦: Oops! I now regret and have cancelled my closevote (as "lacking research"). That's two important facts about it's that wouldn't necessarily be easy for a learner to find by casual Internet search - your point, and the one alluded to in my comment under Vsevolod IV's post (about not being able to use the abbreviated form as the final element in an utterance). Dec 14, 2019 at 18:02
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    I wonder how you could possibly write an essay and not know the difference.
    – Lambie
    Jul 16, 2020 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


A: Whose is that? Is it his?

B: No, its it is

its --> belonging to "it"

it is --> it's (contraction)

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    Native speakers would be very unlikely to come out with that reply (except perhaps "facetiously"). Dec 14, 2019 at 17:04
  • Wow! Seriously?:p This wasn't meant to be GRAMMATICALLY correct, I only posted it to show how the two work SYNTACTICALLY Dec 14, 2019 at 17:07
  • It's "grammatically" fine. But idiomatically it's avoided, which imho makes it a poor example to present to learners (who might not realise they shouldn't copy it). Dec 14, 2019 at 17:15
  • ...I also believe that grammatically / syntactically it would be perfectly possible (but non-idiomatic) for B to reply No, its is it or No, its it is, and there may even be recorded written instances of either or both. I don't know if it's actually "ungrammatical" to reply No, its it's, but I'm quite sure there won't be any written instances of that version. Dec 14, 2019 at 17:20
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    Point taken. I'll edit it according to the recommendations given. Thank you!:) Dec 14, 2019 at 17:26

it's - contraction of it is, it has or like as where is or there is

its - possessive form of it and use to say that something belongs to or refers to something like my or your.

For example:
He doesn’t think its a good idea to spend all his money on video games. - incorrect
He doesn’t think it’s a good idea to spend all his money on video games. - correct

Its been a year since the last time they met - incorrect
It’s been a year since the last time they met - correct

The computer looked as though it’s power supply had failed - incorrect
The computer looked as though its power supply had failed - correct

A car is no good without it’s wheels - incorrect
A car is no good without its wheels - correct

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